Iran Thanks Saudi Arabia on Return of Oil Tanker
Iran said on Sunday it appreciated Saudi Arabia's efforts in the return of an Iranian ship that had docked at Jeddah port because of technical problems in May.
"Iran appreciates efforts by the authorities of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Oman to secure the safe return of Iran's Happiness 1 oil tanker," Reuters quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.
Iranian media had reported that Saudi Arabia was not allowing the ship to leave Jeddah because of a “dispute over the payment of repair costs.”
The Happiness 1 tanker "has been released following negotiations and is now moving toward Gulf waters," said Iranian Transport Minister Mohammad Eslami, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
"Yesterday, with follow-ups from the ports and maritime authority the issue was resolved," Eslami said.
"The tanker is moving towards the Gulf ... towed by two Iranian tug boats."
The ship had been forced to seek repairs in Saudi Arabia in early May after suffering "engine failure and loss of control", the Iranian oil ministry's SHANA news agency said at the time.
Agence France Presse quoted Iran's national tanker company as saying in a statement that on top of "political and diplomatic negotiations" the tanker's release required "the payment of related costs" demanded by Saudi Arabia.
According to a July 2 report by Mehr News Agency, Iran paid "over $10 million to Jeddah port for repairs and maintenance" of the tanker.